PM may `pardon´ two wanted PA security men (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Aluf Benn 01/28/05)
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The Foreign Ministry has been making a diplomatic effort in recent
weeks to convince the European Union to include Hezbollah on its list
of terrorist organizations.
Success in this endeavor will significantly damage the legitimacy of
the Lebanese organization and is likely to make it difficult for the
group to raise funds in Europe.
For some time, the EU has hesitated to heed Israel´s call, even
though a number of Hezbollah leaders, including Imad Mughniye, an
international terrorist, have been included on an EU list of
But the change in the Palestinian leadership, and the election of
Mahmoud Abbas as chairman of the Palestinian Authority, has led
Israel to alter its line of argument. Instead of complaining about
Hezbollah activities along the northern border, and about the rockets
threatening the Galilee, Israeli representatives are highlighting the
threat Hezbollah poses to the fledgling Palestinian leader.
According to Israeli intelligence, Hezbollah is the main "engine" for
terrorism in the territories and the group is seeking to undermine
the calm achieved in recent days.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his aides are raising the problem
in every meeting with foreign representatives. The Foreign Ministry´s
director general, Ron Prosor, has recruited intelligence officials
and the IDF to the effort, to provide the ministry with relevant
information. Jeremy Issascharoff, deputy director for strategic
affairs, is managing the project.
The Foreign Ministry marked a small victory in its effort last week,
when the Belgian ambassador to Israel, Jean-Michel Veranneman de
Watervliet, was invited to Jerusalem for a meeting with Issascharoff
and the deputy director for Europe, Ron Kuriel. The two officials
protested a meeting held between the Belgian ambassador to Lebanon in
Beirut on January 19 with Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan
Nasrallah, "under whose direction dozens of murderous terrorist
attacks were carried out."
The protest was passed on to Brussels and the next day Belgian
Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht telephoned Shalom and apologized for
the meeting with Nasrallah, saying it was carried out contrary to
instructions from the Belgian Foreign Ministry.
Among the EU countries that Israel counts as supporting its stance
are Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
The current holder of the EU presidency, Luxembourg, promised to "be
on the side of the good guys." Britain, which in the past insisted on
distinguishing between the military and political arms of the group,
is now willing to reevaluate its stance. Similar reevaluations are
being carried out in other countries.
The EU body that deals with the list of terrorist groups is due to
meet on February 16. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/28/05)
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